The first langoustine I ever ate was in France.
It was amazing.
But I had no idea then that it was almost certainly from Scotland – just like all those langoustines I used to buy in Spain to decorate my paellas.
More fool me.
Ever since I learned the truth – and with all the righteous zeal of a smoker who’s recently quit – I’ve taken much delight in winding up my French pals by telling them that all their best assiettes de fruits de mer are in fact assiettes de Grande Bretagne.
And yet, while ribbing the French might be fun (I’m writing this from Montpellier, pour le record), the truth is that this is all significantly more embarrassing for us rosbifs.
We have the world’s best fish and shellfish on our doorstep but we’re exporting nearly all of it.
Simultaneously, we’re importing some seriously dubious stuff from the other side of the world - and at great environmental cost.
As one of my colleagues observed recently: ‘the fish in that supermarket food is better travelled than me!’.
Quite. (And she’s been everywhere.)
‘Eating local’ has become something of a cliché, and it perhaps raises as many questions as it answers.
But if you live on this island, the fact is that you’re never more than 70 miles from the sea.
And that sea is a damn sight more local than the sea in Thailand. Or Russia. Or Honduras. Or Canada. Or Madagascar. Or China. Or Indonesia…..or any of those other far-flung places that we madly import seafood from.
Anyway, the market reopens on Wednesday at 7am.
And it's all local.
PS – a few of you have said that you’d like to buy more whole fish but aren’t confident filleting. We’re thinking of running a filleting masterclass. Ping us at firstname.lastname@example.org if this takes your fancy.